The state of Virginia provides several laws concerning sexual offender registration under the Commonwealth division of the Minors Registry Act. The Virginia Code lists sexual offenses and the types of duties offenders have to undertake after conviction under subsection 9.1. Among the regulations that affect sexual offenders is the automatic notification of specific institutions and entities about your criminal record as a sexual offender. Therefore, section 9.1-914 gives identified entities the right to request for information concerning your registration as a sex offender for reference in official matters. While the registry in charge of disseminating such data should take the initiative to ensure that your records are used in good faith, your reputation as a sex offender may be detrimental to your life and any upcoming opportunities.
As a result, it is necessary to understand the information provided under the statutory provisions, including the types of offenses that require registration as a sex offender, the different periods of a sex offender record you may have to undergo, and the steps you should follow to get deregistered from the list. Subsequently, having a criminal defense attorney provide all the necessary information will be beneficial for you, primarily if you want to be cautious of the people who can access your data as a registered sex offender. At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we have helped hundreds of clients in Fairfax and Northern Virginia navigate the rules set under subsection 9.1-914 and other sections of the Virginia code to provide additional information on the type of entities who can access their criminal records. With our assistance, you can identify the parties who acquire details of your past sexual offenses and take action to prevent the misuse of the gathered information. Moreover, you can raise defenses in a trial to avert a conviction and a subsequent registration as a sex offender.
The Rules Set in Subsection 9.1-914
Following the subsection provisions, there is an automatic notification of your registration as a sex offender to specific institutions or entities upon their requests. Thus, the records are accessible to members of these particular entities, as long as they meet the requirements set out by the state police in charge of issuing the details. In Virginia, several sexual offenses warrant registration as an offender, subsequently leading to other persons accessing the information on your records through section 9.1-914. The crimes that attract mandatory registration as a sex offender are found under subsection 9.1-902 of the Virginia code. They are:
Having or an Attempting to Have Carnal Knowledge With a Child Between 13 to 15 Years
The statutory provision makes it an offense to have sexual intercourse with a minor aged between thirteen to fifteen years, with or without their consent. Moreover, you may face a conviction for attempting to have sexual intercourse with the little or conspiring towards such activities. In this case, the action must include penetrating the child's genitals with yours to fit the elements of the crime that the prosecutor must prove. If you are guilty of the offense, your title as a registered sexual offender is available for any entity requesting it under 9.1-914.
Breaking in a Premise to Commit Rape
You will also be guilty of a sexual offense for breaking into another's premise to rape the occupant. The violation will also attract a mandatory sex offender registration if you included other criminal activities when breaking in. For example, if you entered the place unlawfully and committed robbery and rape, you will acquire a sex-offender title. Like other sexual offenses, the prosecutor may also successfully prove your guilt even if it was an attempted offense that failed for varying reasons.
Penetrating a Child's Mouth for Sexual Pleasure
It is also an offense to penetrate or attempt to penetrate a minor's mouth to seek sexual gratification. Although sexual offenders are often guilty of penetrating the minor with their sexual organs, you could also have to register as an offender for penetration using other body parts like your fingers. The underlying point to prove will be your intention to exploit the minor sexually for sexual pleasure.
Repeat Offenses for Possession or Distribution of Child Pornography
Obtaining a second or subsequent conviction for owning, possessing, or distributing child pornography is also grounds to have your name on the list of registered sex offenders whose information is available to different entities. Therefore, it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney during trial for a second charge of possessing pornographic material. It may help you avoid having your name in the registry records.
Exploiting a Minor for Prostitution
Involving yourself in any activities that encourage child prostitution is a serious offense that will inevitably require you to register as a sex offender. For such a conviction, the main elements of the crime to prove are that you were a party to organized crimes to solicit, coerce, and manage minors as they worked in prostitution. You could also face additional charges for accepting profits made from the sexual exploitation of such children. Consequently, the institutions requesting your information will see the charges you faced conviction for, leading to the loss of significant opportunities for you.
Soliciting a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activities Through a Computer
Cybercrime that involves sexual offenses is also considered during your conviction, leading to you obtaining a sex offender title. Most actions include soliciting a minor to engage in lewd conduct at the offender's directives, as he/she records it for further exploitation. Moreover, soliciting sex from a minor may also involve tricks and misguiding applications to lure the child in and engage in different indecent activities. Regardless of the tactic used when luring such a child to engaging in sexual activity through the computer, if the judge finds you guilty of the offense, you will face several consequences that include registration as a sex offender.
Upon facing a conviction for any of the crimes discussed above, among others, an entity seeking information on your title as a sex offender can obtain an electronic notice of your registration as soon as it is complete. Alternatively, suppose the institution is unable to retrieve your records electronically. In that case, a representative can reach out to the state police requesting a written notice of your registration or re-registration as a sex offender.
Entities Entitled to Receive Notices of Sex Offender Registration and Re-Registration
Section 9.1-914 lists the various entitled to request information on your sex offender status by making the appropriate applications to the state police. While the primary mode of retrieving notices of the requested information is electronic, the interested entity may also receive written notifications from the police. Hence, it would be difficult to stop your details from being accessible to these institutions. The entities listed in the statute are:
Institutions of Higher Learning
Higher learning institutions include colleges, universities, and any other learning facilities where students receive professional skills and certification in various fields. Thus, such institutions operate on a strict policy basis to ensure their students' safety and security at all times. Subsequently, it is normal for the state police to grant such institutions notices of sex offenders' registration, primarily if they are students or employees in the facilities.
When a learning institution initiates applications to receive such notices, it must meet several requirements outlined by the state police before the details of your criminal record are available for analysis. The primary need to fulfill is to ensure that they state the reason for such a request and prove an existing relationship between you and the school, such that it would pay interest to your criminal record registration.
Moreover, it is essential to note that the Council of Private Education in Virginia should provide the police responsible for handling sex offender registrations and records the email addresses of all registered and certified schools in the state. In doing so, the state police will have electronic records of valid learning institutions to prevent dispatching information to illegitimate entities. The school email addresses can then be used to access notices on registration that occurs.
Day Care and Child Minding Services
Understandably, parents who leave their children in daycare or childminding centers for childcare services expect their children to be in a safe environment, free from sexual abusers and other predators. Daycare service is defined as an additional child care option that is available to parents interested in extending their children's supervised growth. Often, a daycare service is ideal for parents who work throughout the day, as the children get to engage with others in their age group and grow their imagination.
Childminding services are also commonly used, primarily through hiring a babysitter for the young ones. Like daycare, childminding services give the babysitter interim custody over the child, where he/she should supervise the child. Naturally, the parents or guardians of children left in such services are more willing to use them upon employee assurance with no criminal record.
Therefore, the childminding or daycare agency could implement a system whereby new employees undergo a probation or vetting period before the assurance of getting the job. If any notices reach the daycare or childminding services, you will inevitably lose your job and face other consequences.
Family Day Homes
Running a family day home involves opening up your house to parents looking for childcare services during the day. In this case, you may be employed by the house owner to assist him/her in taking care of the children left in the family day home. Usually, there are restrictions to take care of a maximum of twelve children per session.
Since the family day home is an organized child care service whereby parents leave children to other adults, the entity is likely to be keen on finding out whether you have a history as a sex offender. It, therefore, qualifies to request notices of registration from the state police.
Assisted Living Facilities
An assisted living facility is a house designed to be a residential space where elderly persons receive medical care and round the clock supervision. Although the living facility may not be a well established elderly home, it still requires professional services from certified caregivers and nurses. They will help the seniors out in their daily activities, as stated in section 63.2-100 of the Virginia code.
Since the elderly are vulnerable persons in society, their loved ones also require assurance that the assisted living facilities' professionals do not pose any safety threats to the seniors. Hence, they can apply to receive notices of your registration or re-registration as a sex offender to determine whether you may continue working there.
Approved Nursing Homes
Under section 32.1-123 of the Virginia Code, a certified nursing home is an institution where patients facing varying medical conditions receive personalized medical care to alleviate the pain and suffering they may otherwise experience when living alone. The facilities use the services of trained and certified medical nurses who may have an expert or intermediate skills in Medicare service provision.
The approval of a nursing home requires meeting numerous requirements, including ensuring employees and patients have regular interactions. As a result, it is paramount for such an institution to register for sex offender registrations for periodic notices, mainly if they involve their employees or interested parties.
Other entities also qualify to receive notices of your registrations, as they aim to uphold safe working environments for minors and coworkers. They are:
Self-Regulated or Licensed Child Day Centers
Residential Facilities for Children
Child Day Programs
Reasons for Entities Requesting for Information on Your Criminal Records
Sometimes, you may find an entity's move to obtain your criminal records as unfair and malicious, especially if you suspect that the documents will be a source of prejudice against you during administrative operations. Therefore, you must reach out to your criminal defense attorney and learn of the various reasons an institution or entity may request your sex offender status. They include:
Conducting Background Checks Before Hiring You
Most hirers prefer to be safe from any negative eventualities that come from hiring employees with unknown pasts. Consequently, conducting background checks is common before securing an employment position. In doing the reviews, your potential employer will request any criminal records that indicate your involvement in unlawful activities, and go over the details to determine whether he/she can hire you after assessing your records.
For example, suppose you applied for a position as a part-time worker in a daycare facility, but have faced conviction for child pornography possession. In that case, the employer will rely on your records to disqualify you. He or she will cite the sexual offenses as the grounds for your loss of opportunity. While such background checks are reasonably imposed on you, the entity requesting your information should adhere to the requirements laid out by the state police to promote fair access to the registration records.
Confirming Grounds for Suing You
If you get involved in unlawful activities at work or other social engagements, the aggrieved party may choose to sue you for the criminal activities. On top of this, the party can decide to go over your criminal records to establish whether you qualify for additional charges as a registered sex offender. For example, after facing sexual harassment allegations in an institution of higher learning like college, the entity can obtain any sex offender registration details for use during your criminal trial proceedings.
Fulfilling Routine Checks in Places of Work
Several workplace policies may also direct the respective authorities to conduct routine background checks on the employees, primarily if you work with special age groups like young children or the elderly. Since the fulfillment of such regular checks is necessary for continuous operations, the entity you work for may request for an electronic notification for your registration as a sex offender to ease their work. The information will be automatically retrievable after the judge presiding over your criminal case finds you guilty of a sexual offense.
The Process of Removal From the Sex Offender Registry
In some cases, you may successfully apply for the removal of your status as a sex offender. If your application prevails, the electronic lists available in state police reports and registries will delete your details, meaning that the entities listed in section 9.1-914 will not have access to notices of sex offender registration. Moreover, the existing messages in the entities' possession will be null after the removal of your name from the sex offender registration.
However, applying for an expungement that deletes your name from the sex offender list is not smooth, as you will have to fulfill several requirements. Firstly, your criminal defense attorney will inform you of the type of tier of registration that your sexual offense brought about. Usually, there are three tiers under the Sex Offenders Registration and Notification Act. Each tier provides different restrictions that prevent you from making a petition for your removal as a sex offender.
Under the first tier, you will have to hold the sex offender status for up to fifteen years, but you can have the title removed after ten years. The second tier requires you to keep the title for twenty-five years without any chance of doing away with it until the time is done. Lastly, the third tier provides for a sex offender status for life.
Following the regulations provided, you can only apply for removing your sex offender status under the first and second-tier specified in the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act. Additionally, you will have to fulfill several requirements to become eligible for the petition to expunge your sex offender title apart from the time-lapse of specific tier guidelines. For example, the court may order you to pay restitution fees to the crime victim you offended, especially if he/she incurred additional costs from medical treatment or recovery counseling sessions. You may also have to undergo several counseling sessions to help you reform your behavior and desist from engaging in sexual offenses in the future.
After meeting the requirements given in the SORNA act and court, your criminal defense lawyer will consolidate all certified records of your conviction for presentation during trial. The documents are necessary, as they prove your claim's validity, mainly to show the time-lapse required before you apply for removal from the sex offenders list.
Once all records are in place, your lawyer can then file a petition and prepare for trial sessions where a judge will listen to your prayers and the prosecutor's submissions. At this stage, your defense attorney may raise several legal arguments that support your reasons for applying for removal as a sex offender. The hearing sessions may go on for a while, depending on your case's circumstances and the judge’s findings.
Eventually, your records will be off the sex offenders registry if you win the petition. Subsequently, no entity or individual will access any notices of your registration or re-registration as a sex offender.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Identifying the various options available for you after registering as a sex offender is crucial to finding solutions to any emerging problems that come with such obligations. Moreover, finding out more information about section 9.1-914 of the Virginia code is essential for you to know the different entities that can receive notices on your registration as a sex offender. With this knowledge, you can then use an experienced criminal defense lawyer's services to raise concerns about using information obtained and prevent unfair prejudice from your sex offender status.
At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we are ready to guide you through the various details you should know after registration as a sex offender. Our team of well-experienced lawyers will also support you through filing petitions for the expungement of your sex offender status, to restore your everyday life without any inconveniences that come with the title. If you are a Fairfax and Northern Virginia resident seeking criminal defense services for sexual offenses, give us a call today at 703-718-5533.